This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," December 22, 2007.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on "The Journal Editorial Report," he is crossing party lines to endorse John McCain for president. Senator Joe Lieberman is here to tell us why.
With Rudy Giuliani slipping in the national polls, our panel takes a look at the wide-open Republican race.
The Hollywood writer's strike looms large over the Oscars and Golden Globes. Will celebrities cross the line to get their awards? Who stands to lose the most in the seven-week-old showdown? Our panel weighs in after the headlines.
GIGOT: Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
The campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain is enjoying a resurgence, with two new polls putting him in second place in the all-important state of New Hampshire.
With that primary less than three weeks away, he has gotten a lot of positive buzz and a handful of new endorsements, including one from my guests this week. Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman joins me from Connecticut.
Senator, thank you for being here.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (I), CONNECTICUT: Good to be with you, Paul. Thank you.
GIGOT: You have endorsed John McCain. What response have you received from your fellow Democrats this week?
LIEBERMAN: Oh, some puzzlement. Some anger. I mean a lot of phone calls. People were angry. But you know, to me, I know it is unusual for a Democrat, even an Independent Democrat to endorse a Republican but there is too much as stake in this presidential election to let the choice be governed solely by what party you are in. And to me, John McCain is simply the best qualified to lead our country forward. I wasn't going to stop from endorsing him because he happens to have an "R" after his name and I have a "D" or an "ID," as it were.
GIGOT: One reason you've cited is the fact that he thinks a President McCain can reach across the aisle and restore bipartisanship to foreign policy. Why would he be able to do that than, say, someone like Senator Obama, one of whose main theme is get beyond this partisan divide and bring the country together?
LIEBERMAN: Right. Look there are two reasons. Two main reasons that I supported and am proud to support John McCain. One is his strong record on national security. He understands the threat of Islamist extremism. He understands how to put together a principled strong American foreign and defense policy. So I am with him on all that.
The second is that he has had a record of working across party lines over a long period of time. John McCain is a proud Republican. But he has a restless desire to get things done and he knows that, to do it, you have to work across party lines. Some more than any of the other candidate I think he has a proven record.
And, look, with all respect to Senator Obama, who is a friend of mine, I simply disagree with him on a lot of positions he is taking on national security with regard to Iraq, Iran, for instances. Whereas, I totally agree with John McCain, worked side-by-side with him. I think he's got the ability from the — day one, to be a strong commander in chief, who will bring us back, Paul, to where we used to be on foreign policy, which was that you had debates here at home. But then, as former Senator Arthur Vandenberg famously said, politics end at the waters edge because we have common enemies.
GIGOT: When Senator McCain saw us last week at the "Wall Street Journal" we asked how he explained the opposition from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the surge in Iraq and support for more funding. He attributed it to a, quote, "a lack of patriotism," unquote. That's pretty tough. Do you agree with that?
LIEBERMAN: It is tough. John is a straight talker. I agree with him in the sense that I'm afraid too many Democrats put both ideology and partisan interests ahead of the national interests. So even after — it was one thing to say last year — earlier this year, let's say — that people were skeptical about whether we could win the war in Iraq. When General Petraeus and the president came forward with the surge strategy, whether it would work. Now it is working, quite miraculously.
For people to continue to say the war is lost and to fight to cut funding or set deadlines for withdrawal, to me, that's not having partisan politics end at the water's edge.
GIGOT: Let me ask you a question about Iraq. Do you think no matter who's president next year, Democrat or Republican, there will be American troops, maybe tens of thousands of American troops, in Iraq for many years to come?